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The Recitation   By: (1868-1934)

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First Page:

Riverside Educational Monographs

Edited by Henry Suzzallo President of the University of Washington Seattle, Washington

THE RECITATION

by

GEORGE HERBERT BETTS, Ph. D.

Professor of Psychology Cornell College, Iowa

Houghton Mifflin Company Boston New York Chicago San Francisco The Riverside Press Cambridge Copyright, 1910, by George Herbert Betts Copyright, 1911, by Houghton Mifflin Company

CONTENTS

EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

I. THE PURPOSES OF THE RECITATION

II. THE METHOD OF THE RECITATION

III. THE ART OF QUESTIONING

IV. CONDITIONS NECESSARY TO A GOOD RECITATION

V. THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE LESSON

OUTLINE

EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

Teachers are not always clear as to what they mean when they speak of the recitation. Many different meanings are associated with the term. Some of these are suggestive but quite vague; and others, although more definite, are but partial truths that hinder as much as they help. It is not surprising that a confused usage of the term is current among teachers.

From one point of view, the recitation is a recitation period, a segment of the daily time schedule. In this sense it is an administrative unit, valuable in apportioning to each school subject its part of the time devoted to the curriculum. Thus, we speak of five recitations in arithmetic, three in music, or two in drawing, having in mind merely the number of times the class meets for instruction in a particular school study. A recitation here means no more than a class period, a more or less arbitrary device for controlling the teacher's and pupils' distribution of energy among the various subjects taught.

From another point of view, the recitation is a form of educative activity rather than a mere time allotment. In this sense the recitation is a process of instruction, a mode of teaching, wherein pupils and teacher, facing a common situation, proceed toward a more or less conscious end. It is a distinct movement in classroom experience, so organized that a definite beginning, progression, and end are clearly distinguishable. Thus we speak of the method of the recitation, the five formal steps of the recitation, or the various types of recitation. Such a usage makes "recitation" synonymous with "lesson." Indeed, when we pass from general pedagogical discussion to a detailed treatment of special methods of teaching, we usually abandon the term "recitation" and use the word "lesson." Although there is always some notion of a time period in the curriculum in our idea of a lesson, yet the term "lesson" is more intimately connected with the thought of a teaching exercise in which ideas are developed and fixed in memory. It is through the lesson or recitation that pupils and teachers influence one another's thought and action; and when this condition exists, there is always educative activity.

These two ways of thinking of the recitation, one primarily administrative and the other primarily educative, need to be somewhat sharply differentiated in our thinking. However closely related they are in actual schoolroom work, however greatly they influence each other in practice, they require a theoretic separation. Only by this method can we avoid some of the error and confusion current in teaching theory and practice. A single instance will suffice to show the value of the distinction.

No one of us would deliberately assume that the teaching process required for the instruction of a child would just cover the twenty, thirty, or forty minutes allotted to the class period, day after day and year after year, regardless of the subject presented or the child taught. Yet this is precisely the sort of assumption that is implied throughout a considerable portion of our current discussion of the teaching process. We talk about a "developmental lesson" or a "review recitation" in, say, geography, as though it began and ended with the recitation period of the day. The daily lesson plans we demand of apprentice teachers in training schools are largely built upon this basis... Continue reading book >>




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